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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah says it will bend the rules of its four-day workweek to accommodate funerals for military veterans.
In August, Gov. Jon Huntsman ordered most state agencies to close on Fridays in an effort to slash energy costs.
But that caused problems for those who wanted to bury their loved ones at the Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Riverton on a Friday. The cemetery is generally closed on Friday as part of the four-day week.
"It kind of struck us as absurd that we had to plan around a four-day week," said Suzan Hornok Moyer, whose father, the Rev. John Hornok, a Pearl Harbor survivor, died Aug. 3, a Sunday. "That became the driving force of when we could have the funeral."
Moyer's family lives in Kansas and said it was difficult gathering family members and getting them to Utah on such a short notice. She said Hornok's' six children, 24 of the 27 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren were able to make the funeral on Aug. 7, a Thursday.
"Had my father died even one day later, I doubt everyone would have been able to get everyone together by Thursday, and then we would have had to push back the funeral until Monday," she said. "There needs to be more flexibility."
Terry Schow, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, said he's telling his staff that burials can still happen on Fridays if necessary. "We'll make the accommodations for extraordinary circumstances," Schow said. "We want to be accessible to the public during their times of sorrow."
Lisa Roskelley, Huntsman's spokeswoman, said Hornok's situation was unique, but the state has learned its lesson. "This was the first time the issue had arisen," Roskelley said. "We want to make sure we're serving the public and providing the flexibility for those services."
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)